new-york

Richard Prince

Barbara Gladstone Gallery

When Richard Prince exhibited a series of captioned cartoons from The New Yorker magazine several seasons ago, the gallery context rendered the class-bound codes on which they were predicated distracting enough to disarm them as jokes. We laughed not at the jokes themselves, but at the patrician mores that motivate and delimit them. Recently, Prince has turned to bawdier material: here he exhibited a series of common jokes silk-screened onto monochromatic canvases, along with several “gangs”—his own term for the photographic grouping he has favored for the past several seasons. Perhaps because the new jokes depend less on the protocols of a specified class, our attention turns from their ideological determination to the joke technique itself.

Standard lounge-act fare, the jokes make no special appeal to sophistication. Yet seeing them recontextualized in the gallery, we end up marveling at

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